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'The man standing next to me was a tall, good-looking man of Indian heritage in his early 30s. Shrien Dewani seemed calm and composed. The only outward signs of trauma I could notice were the two large, dark purple bags under each of his eyes. I offered him a seat. He accepted and we started to talk. Over the following 45 minutes, the British businessman told me about the murder of his wife, Anni, 40 hours earlier.'
So begins Bitter Dawn, Dan Newling's journalistic investigation into a crime that ignited firestorms of outrage across the world. At first the story seems simple enough: Shrien Dewani, a young British businessman on honeymoon in Cape Town, arranges the murder of his newlywed bride in a clumsy hijacking. But a closer examination of the crime reveals some uncomfortable truths.
Over four years - from the moment he interviewed Shrien Dewani just two days after Anni's death, to the eve of the Briton's 2014 murder trial - Newling has painstakingly pieced together the many pieces of this puzzle. Containing facts hitherto unpublished, interviews with witnesses until now unheard from, and the fruits of deep journalistic research into the South Africa's criminal justice system, Bitter Dawn lifts the lid on a crime far more complex than the media narrative has so far assumed.
While it may be difficult to find anyone who believes Shrien Dewani to be innocent, the facts Newling has uncovered provide compelling reasons to question the establishment story. Bitter Dawn is a gripping work of investigative journalism which reveals some worrying truths, not only about a bloody murder, but about its investigation, South African politics, global media ethics and how we all, as news-consumers, respond to stories when boundaries between right and wrong, between innocent and guilty, and between truth and lies, become blurred.